Businesswoman, entrepreneur and third-generation restaurateur Heaven Leigh shares how discovering journalling changed her life and has been a big part of her success story ever since.
Many years ago I went through a personal crisis - a real low point - that left me feeling stagnant and directionless.
It got to the point where I felt I just had to get out of my day to day life, escape the monotonous daily grind and routine. So I packed my bags, jumped in the car and found myself at a rural Buddhist property where they were building a new temple for the local monks.
And I ended up staying there for weeks.
Life there was very simple. No television, no entertainment. Without these distractions, I had little choice other than to take time to reflect, reassess where I was going in my life and figure out what needed to change.
On one of my many walks around the property and the local area, I stumbled across a local bookshop, and in it, a creative journal. I don’t know what drew me to it exactly, but something told me now was the perfect time to give journalling a try.
I had never kept a journal before. And before all this, if you asked me what journalling was I would have pictured a teenage girl sitting in her bedroom, twirling her hair and writing “Dear Diary”.
But this journal was definitely different.
It was a guided journal. It helped me set daily goals, challenged me to be creative and made me see myself and the world around me in a new, more positive light.
Keeping that first journal turned out to be a life-changing, incredibly wonderful, insightful and mind expanding experience for me. I remember leaving the Buddhist property feeling as though something had shifted. I was no longer stuck in a rut. I was moving forward in a new and unexpected direction.
This started my lifelong love of journalling.
Keeping a journal has helped me to be more present and conscious in my life, through setting my intentions for the day, setting new business goals, exploring my emotional and mental health, and connecting to my inner self.
Journalling gives me the opportunity and focus for self-care, to pause, be deliberate and thoughtful in my day. It allows me to create a positive mindset, to look within myself for strength and to put into practice the things that in the past I instinctively knew I needed but was too busy to action.
It has also allowed me to create new habits, reflect on the past and recognise what I have actually achieved over time.
It has ultimately helped me become more focused and successful in my business and at home with my family.
Journalling is very personal. There’s no one right way to do it. And it doesn’t need to be hugely time consuming, unless of course you want it to be. Some people pour their heart and souls onto the page, for others it’s a few simple dot points. Personally, I treat journalling like a written meditation. I prioritise it first thing in the morning, taking no more than ten minutes to create mindfulness and intention for my day.
There are plenty of journalists out there to choose from. One of my favourites is Daily Greatness - a series designed with different areas of focus like yoga, parenting, wellness, business and success. These journals empower you to find your strengths, challenge your fears and find focus for your vision for your life.
To help get you started on your journey to a better you, we’re giving away a Daily Greatness journal. See the details here.
I hope you come to enjoy journalling as much as I do, and that it helps you find new ways to be more conscious and present in your own life.
Top 5 tips for journalling
Set a regular time to write in your journal each day. Treat it like an appointment - put it in your diary, and don’t let other things override or change it.
Start with a guided journal - one which provides simple prompts to self-reflect and get your creative juices flowing. Starting your journalling experience with a notebook full of blank pages can be overwhelming!
Approach your journalling like you would meditation. Choose a feel-good space where there is good (ideally natural) light and no interruptions, bring in fresh air, play inspiring or calming music and perhaps light a candle or diffuse some essential oils.
Don’t pressure yourself with expectations of length, correct grammar or incredible wordsmithing. This is for you and you only. It doesn’t need to be a work of art.
Keep your journals (in a safe place!) and look back and reflect on them intermittently, to see where you’ve made progress, how your thoughts might have evolved, and where you can still spend some focus.